Key Areas: access, affordability, reliability, accessibility, safety, multiple modes, sustainable public transit funding, human-centered, connecting people to where they need to go
Even though COVID-19 related stay-at-home orders kept us home more than usual, we still need to move across the region for recreation, shopping, school, and work. Goods need to move across the region, too. The current infrastructure in our city, region, and country tends to prioritize cars and trucks above other forms of transportation. Many people rely on public transportation.
Where one lives in relation to bus lines, T stations, bike lanes, and sidewalks affects the options they have for transportation. Many people live in neighborhoods where driving by car is the only option to get to work, stores, hospitals, or parks. For people who cannot afford a car, living somewhere with access to public transportation or other transportation infrastructure is absolutely necessary to get to the places they need to go. As rents and house prices in parts of the city with many transportation options (such as Bloomfield and East Liberty) continue to rise, residents who have relied on transportation may only be able to find affordable housing in places with fewer transportation options—fewer bus lines, no bike lanes, and possibly even no sidewalks.
Before COVID-19, most people in the region drove to work. Many took public transportation. Some took public transit by choice and some took it by necessity. Other people biked or walked work—sometimes up and down the city staircases that workers have been using for generations. For some people, transportation was their work. COVID-19 has substantially affected where we work or the work that we do. That change has affected how we move around the region. As COVID-19 continues to spread, many essential workers continue to ride public transit.
For places with limited or no public transportation options or safe places to walk, use a wheelchair, or bike, getting around can be an added stressor, affecting one’s health. A late bus may also mean a missed doctor’s appointment.
Transportation infrastructure can limit how frequently a person gets to a full-service grocery store.
Whether by foot, by school bus, by public transit, by bike, or by car, the region’s children have to get to and from school somehow. They had to before COVID-19 and they will have to again at some point in the future. How long it takes children to get to school and back home affects how much time they have to do their school work, play, or be involved in other activities. Transportation infrastructure can also affect how much time a parent or caretaker has to spend with their children or grandchildren before and after school.
Cars and the use of fossil-fuels to power them contribute to poor air quality and climate change. Wide roads, parking lots, and parking garages require asphalt and concrete, which are fossil fuel-intensive materials. They increase rainwater run-off into our aging stormwater infrastructure and contribute to hotter city environments.